For the recent Summers Woodworking’s 2nd annual 2×4 competition I decided that I wanted to make myself a workshop mascot.
I figured that it would only be fitting to have a mascot that brought together both my love of woodwork and also my love of gaming. Without too much debate I was able to settle on making a Creeper from Minecraft. A Creeper named….. Colin.
There a few ways that you could go about making a creeper:
- Use solid pieces of wood and then paint the pixelated pattern onto the work piece.
- Build the creeper using individual blocks that are pre-painted building a totally solid creeper. This is the option that I chose.
If you are going to follow this method and use individual cubes to build the creeper, then you have a second decision to make.
1. You can make a totally solid creeper, this will require 1,226 Cubes in total.
2. You can build the outer shell of the creeper. The should mean that you only need to use 835 cubes.
I opted for the second method. This was mainly because I wanted the cubes to be of a decent size, maybe 3/4″ – 1″ in size, and I would not be able to cut enough cubes from a single 2×4.
If you are making this project yourself, I would strongly recommend buying the cubes rather than making them yourself. It will be cheaper to cut them yourself, but extremely time consuming! Especially if, like me, you are using mainly hand tools. I would guess that I spent maybe 20 hours cutting the cubes by hand. At 4-5 hours a night, that is a solid week taken up!
Once you have your cubes, you will need to assemble the rest of the materials you need to build the creeper.
- Glue: I used Titebond Original glue. You could use standard white glue or something like Gorilla wood glue, this was what I had to had in the workshop at the time.
- Undercoats: I used both white and grey spray undercoat. Grey was used for all cubes that would be green, black or grey. White was used for the few cubes that are to be white.
- A small paint brush. In this case I used a 1/2″ brush.
- Tester pots of each shade of green and also black. I honestly thought I would need more paint than this, but I actually had some to spare after the creeper was complete.
- Finally a spray clear sealer was used to give the exposed surfaces of the creeper a more robust finish.
For the green paint, I ran with a dark, Medium dark, medium light and light green. These were custom mixed at my local B&Q. I am unsure if it will help, but the reference numbers for the mixtures of paint are:
Dark Green: 90GY24341
Medium Dark: 90GY37382
Medium Light: 70GY38330
The next step for me was to actually cut my 2×4 into cubes. To do this I had intended on cross cutting the 2×4 into three lengths, each 800mm long. Then each length could be ripped down to a 20mm x 20mm section, 800mm long using a table saw. After this, I would then be able to use a chop saw in order to cut each length into 20mm cubes.
Unfortunately, this didn’t go exactly as planned. while I was able to get to the stage of having twenty four 20mm x 20mm x 800mm lengths, I was unable to then cut them further into cubes for the following reasons:
- The chop saw I had hoped to use was too industrial, and so was destroying each cube after the initial pass of the blade.
- I had access to a band saw, however it had a tracking issue so could not cut straight
- The table/contractors saw that I used to rip the pieces down did not have the facility for a sliding bed, and so was useless for this task
So, my only option at this stage was to cut the cubes by hand.
I wanted to cut the cubes so that they would be as square and uniform as possible. So rather than mark out each individual cube and cut them free hand, I opted to build a jig in order to allow me to place the 800mm long lengths into it and then make a cross cut by hand speedily.
I went to a local timber merchants and picked up some 18mm thick hardwood plywood. Making sure that I asked for some pre-cut dimensions so that I knew I could assemble the jig without worry over it not being square.
You can download a sketchup model of this jig along with the dimensions, Here
Each part of the jig was affixed using both glue and screws (in pre drilled pilot holes). With the jig completed, it was time to begin cutting the cubes.
With all of the cubes now cut, I needed to sand them. As the cuts were obviously slightly rough and would not be usable in the finished creeper. Initially I planned on using my Dad’s electric sander, but ran into a bit of a problem, when, after around 50 cubes, the motor capacitor burned out!!! Meaning the rest had to be done by hand.
With the cubes now cut and sanded by hand (a process that took 4 days instead of the original 1 I had planned), I was finally ready to begin painting the cubes……
In order to paint the cubes, there are a few methods at your disposal. I opted to use a 1/2″ paint brush and do each and every cube by hand. You could use a paint roller (I’d recommend a foam roller rather than a “fluffy” one) in order to coat all of the tops of the cubes in one hit and then follow this up by covering the top 2-3mm of each of the sides of the cubes. This was required for my creeper as not all of the cubes were identical in height, I didn’t want to have bare wood exposed at the edges of some of the cubes so opted to paint the sides so that the correct colour would be visible.
One other option that was suggested to me was to dip/dab the cubes onto a sponge pre-loaded with paint. I did not try this so I cannot say if it would give good results or be a faster method.
So…. to the painting. Step one is to apply your undercoats, I applied two coats per cube in around 4 batches.
All completed, you should have numbers similar to the following (assuming you choose the same look for your creeper as I did):
White Cubes: 40 Painted on 1 face, 13 Painted on 2 faces
Grey Cubes: 19 Painted on 1 face, 1 painted on 2 faces
Black Cubes: 34 painted on 1 face, 2 painted on 2 faces
Light Green: 81 painted on 1 face, 29 painted on 2 faces, 5 painted on 3 faces
Medium Light Green: 187 painted on 1 face, 61 painted on 2 faces, 1 painted on 3 faces
Medium Dark Green: 128 painted on 1 face, 47 painted on 2 faces, 5 painted on 3 faces
Dark Green: 115 painted on 1 face, 62 painted on 2 faces, 5 painted on 3 faces
For the assembly, I found it easier to split the Creeper into 6 sections. Four legs, a body and also a head. Each section would then be built face by face. By gluing up each face separately, the final assembly of each leg, or body or head is much easier. It allows for each face to be glued and left to sit to dry without the need for clamps. Similarly, you can glue up the individual sections in (at the most) 2 stages, only clamping/applying pressure in 1 direction at a time. If you were to attempt to glue up the creeper block by block, then you would run in to no end of problems.
With the final coat of sealer applied, your creeper will be complete and you can proudly display your new Creeper where everyone can see it!
Now let me introduce you to my new Creeper, my workshop mascot………….. Colin!
If you want to see some of the build itself, please check out the video below:
Thank you to all the guys who left feedback and asked questions.